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One thing that might make drivers choose Apple CarPlay over the BMW's native system is how easy it is to keep up-to-date at all times. Updates for BMW's iDrive may require spending hours on trips to the local dealer. But an Apple CarPlay update can be quick and fairly easy without having to leave the comfort of your home.

How to perform it? Let’s dig in.

Is it possible to do a BMW Apple CarPlay update?

What you need to keep in the back of your mind is that Apple CarPlay is tightly linked to your iPhone as well as its iOS version. So any update made to your phone’s iOS system — from cosmetic upgrades to new features — will appear on your CarPlay system, as opposed to coming as a separate Apple CarPlay software download. This way if your iPhone is running (let’s say) iOS 15, your BMW CarPlay is going to adopt the same level.

Usually, it means to get the best CarPlay features out there you should regularly update your iPhone with the latest iOS releases. It doesn’t imply however, there's nothing to update on BMW’s side.

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Since it is the iDrive that hosts CarPlay, it may bring certain restraints on how the system is working. A good example of that is the way Apple’s hub gets displayed on the BMW screen. While older BMW iDrive software allowed featuring Apple CarPlay in split-screen mode, later software versions decided to drop that design and introduced the possibility to unlock full-screen CarPlay.

Does Apple CarPlay expire?

Apart from updating the interface, BMW also updates CarPlay policies.

At CarPlay’s first launch it was only possible to enjoy it for a limited amount of time – the duration of your lease period – before having to pay an annual subscription fee to keep it working. Yet, with dozens of competing manufacturers who either offered CarPlay as standard, or as a one-off purchase, BMW soon realized their subscription strategy was never going to work. Now that the Bavarians decided to enable Apple CarPlay permanently, it’s clear – CarPlay doesn’t expire.

How to update Apple CarPlay?

Because the BMW Apple CarPlay update is all about updating your iOS device, here’s how this procedure works.

In your iPhone open Settings > General > Software Update, select the available update and that’s literally it! Your phone along with the BMW CarPlay multimedia should start updating.

If your Apple CarPlay hub doesn’t catch the update instantly, you may have to reconnect your device.

How to connect Apple CarPlay on BMW?

To connect Apple CarPlay to your BMW follow these steps:

  1. Make sure Bluetooth, WiFi, and Siri toggle buttons are switched on in your phone Settings.

  2. On your iDrive screen, go through the route: COM > Mobile Devices > Settings to select the Bluetooth, WiFi and CarPlay boxes.

  3. With the connection enabled head on over to New Device > Phone calls and audio.

  4. On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > CarPlay and choose your BMW PIN from the menu.

  5. Follow the setup prompts as your iPhone begins pairing with your BMW.

  6. On your iDrive screen, select the option to connect to Apple CarPlay.

Now that your BMW CarPlay setup is complete, engage Siri to see if CarPlay’s voice recognition capabilities are all set up correctly. That is – press the mic button on your steering wheel and give Siri a command. Receiving a response means you’ve completed the entire process.

How to get Apple CarPlay on BMW?

What about BMWs that are not equipped with an OEM Apple CarPlay feature? Are they excluded from enjoying this driver’s favorite functionality?

Fortunately, thanks to solutions such as BimmerTech’s BMW CarPlay MMI Prime retrofit even owners of 2008 BMWs can add wireless CarPlay to their iDrives making them feel and work like the infotainment of the latest BMW models.

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This plug & play BMW CarPlay upgrade integrates perfectly with the factory BMW screen, controller, car stereo and steering wheel buttons – all to carry over the original convenient CarPlay experience into your car. And with the additional Android Auto functionality, it couldn’t be more handy for team-Android eagerly hunting a system that would migrate their Play Store apps right onto the big iDrive screen.

If you want to check how to DIY install BMW CarPlay retrofit and know more about its features, head on over to BimmerTech’s website.

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